SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 29 (UPI) -- An 18-footer by Mike Bibby with 8.2 seconds left Tuesday night gave the Sacramento Kings an emotional 92-91 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers and a 3-2 lead in the NBA Western Conference finals.
Kobe Bryant missed a last-second jumper for the Lakers, the two-time defending NBA champions who are on the verge of elimination. Their first chance to stay alive comes Friday in Los Angeles.
The Kings trailed, 91-88, with less than a minute to go when Bibby drew a foul and made both free throws. Bryant had his shot blocked at the other end, and the Kings nearly turned it over before the Lakers knocked it out of bounds on the baseline with 11.4 seconds left.
Sacramento Coach Rick Adelman called timeout and set up a play with Bibby inbounding the ball. Vlade Divac set a pick to free Chris Webber, who took the inbounds pass and laid a crushing pick on Derek Fisher.
Bibby curled above Webber, took a return pass and nailed an open jumper from the right wing.
With Shaquille O'Neal having fouled out, the Lakers went to Bryant for a potential game-winning shot. He tried to dribble past the shorter Bobby Jackson, who briefly poked the ball away. Bryant then rushed a shot from the right side that bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded, bringing a deafening roar from the Arco Arena crowd.
Jackson was guarding Bryant because the Kings' best defender, Doug Christie, had fouled out with 3:14 to play. Bryant scored quickly on a jumper but missed his last four shots.
Bibby scored seven of his 23 points in the final six minutes. In the first postseason in his pro career, the fourth-year point guard from Arizona has been outstanding, making a handful of clutch shots. But none were bigger than this one.
Webber had 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Kings, who have not been to the Finals since 1951, when they won their only title as the Rochester Royals. Since then, they have changed cities three times and nicknames once.
This is the closest the Lakers have been to elimination since Game Seven of the 2000 conference finals against Portland, when they rallied from a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit.
Bryant scored 30 points, but made just 11-of-29 shots while committing five turnovers and five fouls. O'Neal scored 28 points on 14-of-18 shooting, but fouled out with 3:22 left.
With O'Neal went going scoreless in the final period, the Lakers became a one-man team. After Bibby's steal and layup, Bryant spun for a baseline jumper and made two free throws to give L.A. an 85-80 lead with 4:54 left.
Christie and Webber each drove for layups before Bibby drew O'Neal's fifth foul. His free throw tied it with 3:14 remaining. A free throw by Webber gave the Kings an 88-87 lead with 2:23 to play, but Bryant answered 12 seconds later with a baseline jumper over Jackson.
Bryant missed jumpers on consecutive possessions. Samaki Walker rebounded the second and sank two free throws for a 91-88 lead with 59 seconds to go. Before Sacramento's final possession, Bryant had a drive smothered by Jackson and Divac.
Fox scored 16 points and Game Four hero Robert Horry grabbed 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who shot 45 percent (35-of-78) and again won the battle of the boards, 42-39.
Divac and Hedo Turkoglu scored 13 points each for the Kings, who shot 47 percent (34-of-72) but hurt themselves by missing 11 free throws, including all five in the third quarter.
All-Star forward Peja Stojakovic returned for the Kings after missing six games with a severe right ankle sprain. He missed all three of his shots and scored just two points in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Lakers got off to a quick start for a change, shooting 65 percent (15-of-23) in the first quarter and racing to a 33-27 lead. O'Neal scored 12 points but committed two fouls.
The Kings charged to the lead in the second quarter as the Lakers went more than eight minutes without a basket.
O'Neal sat down with his third foul with 5:47 left and Los Angeles trailing, 38-37. Sacramento held a 51-46 halftime lead behind 16 points from Webber.
O'Neal and Bryant were whistled for their fourth fouls 92 seconds apart early in the third quarter. They remained in the game and helped the Lakers turn a nine-point deficit into a 74-73 lead entering the final period. O'Neal scored 16 points in the quarter, 12 on dunks.
Lucas suspended; Cavs fined
NEW YORK, May 29 (UPI) -- The NBA announced Tuesday that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been fined $150,000 and Coach John Lucas has been suspended for the first two regular season games of the 2002-03 season for violating league rules prohibiting contact between NBA teams and players not yet eligible for the NBA Draft.
The Cavaliers and Lucas violated this rule on May 22, when they allowed several ineligible players to participate in an informal and voluntary workout with Cavaliers' players at the team's practice facility.
The rule in question states, "teams may not directly or indirectly have or engage or attempt to have or engage in any discussion, communications or contact whatsoever with any player who has remaining intercollegiate basketball eligibility or is otherwise ineligible to be selected in such draft."
One of those players was 17-year-old LeBron James, who is widely regarded as the No. 1 scholastic hoopster in the nation. He just finished his junior season at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, but the workout is puzzling since James, by league rules, would not be eligible for the NBA draft until he graduates in 2003.
The 6-7 James, who averaged 29 ppg last season, was the only high school player invited to the workout, which was also attended by Cleveland-area college players and a couple of NBA free agents. Reports have indicated that James is considering skipping his senior campaign in high school in 2003 to play overseas.
James competed on a team with players from Cleveland State University and Lucas' son John Jr., a freshman guard at Baylor. The were playing against Cavs players Bimbo Coles, Chris Mihm, DeSagana Diop, Jumaine Jones and Bryant Stith.
Former Toronto Raptors assistant coach Johnny Clark witnessed the workout, and told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that James was nothing short of impressive.
"He's something else," Clark told the paper. "Instead of LeBron looking out of place being out there with NBA players, he looked like one of them. He fit right in."
Jones went quite a bit farther in assessing James' dazzling performance.
"He's the most developed high school player I've ever seen and he has another year of high school," said Jones. "He's very mature physically and mentally. Unlike most high school players, he wants to do more than just score. He likes to get everyone involved. He could play in the league right now."
Carolina reaches Stanley Cup finals for first time
TORONTO, May 29 (UPI) -- Martin Gelinas scored at 8:05 of overtime Tuesday night as the Carolina Hurricanes advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in club history with a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Hurricanes' trip to play for one of the most coveted prizes in sports did not come without a fight from the gritty Maple Leafs, who forced overtime on captain Mats Sundin's goal with 22 seconds remaining in regulation.
Not wanting to face a decisive Game Seven, the Hurricanes rose to the occasion in overtime as they have been doing the entire postseason.
Gelinas' goal improved the Hurricanes to 6-1 in overtime in the playoffs. It marked the third time in as many series they won a Game Six on the road.
In their fifth season in Carolina since relocating from Hartford, the Hurricanes will meet either Colorado or Detroit in the NHL Finals. Colorado, which leads 3-2, will be at Detroit Wednesday night.
Clijsters, Seles advance, play suspended
PARIS, May 29 (UPI) -- Battling the rainy conditions as much as their foes, last year's runner-up Kim Clijsters and three-time champion Monica Seles advanced Tuesday to the second round of the French Open.
But last year's semifinalist, fifth seeded Justin Henin of Belgium, fell to Hungarian qualifier Aniko Kapros, 4-6, 6-1, 6-0, under drizzly skies.
Rain and finally darkness left several first-round matches unfinished on Tuesday.
Clijsters, the fourth seed, made her first appearance here since she lost to Jennifer Capriati, 1-6, 6-4, 12-10, with the longest third set ever at a French Open women's final. On Tuesday, the Belgian overcame Tatiana Poutchek of Belarus, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, in just under two hours. The match was one of several that was scheduled for Monday, but postponed due to rain and darkness. It was stopped for over an hour with Clijsters leading, 2-1, in the third set.
Seles rallied past Angeles Montolio of Spain, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0, after dropping the first five games of the match. The 26-year-old American did not drop a game after the rain delay at 3-3 in the second set.
After taking a sizable lead to start the match, Henin had a hard time closing out the first set and suffered a complete collapse to the 179th-ranked player in the world in the next two sets. She was wearing a brace on her left thigh and was visited by the trainer while trailing, 4-1, in the second set. Henin was considered a favorite to reach the final weekend at this event after winning the German Open and appearing in the finals in Rome before arriving in Paris.
In a men's match postponed from Monday, fifth seed and 1996 champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov snapped a six-match losing streak with a 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-1 victory over German qualifier Tomas Behrend. The 28-year-old Russian notched only his second win in his last 11 matches.
Capriati began defense of her French Open crown against American Marissa Irwin on Tuesday, but the match was suspended with Capriati leading in the opening set, 4-2. The 26-year-old American displayed the same fighting spirit that brought her a title here this season at the Australian Open when she completed a record comeback for a women's Grand Slam tournament by saving four match points in her championship victory over Martina Hingis. It was her third career Grand Slam crown.
Third-seeded Serena Williams of the United States hopes to continue her hot streak against Martina Sucha of Slovakia. But their first-round encounter never got underway before the suspension of play.
Also, seventh seed Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia has yet to play. Switzerland's Emmanuelle Gagliardi and No. 9 Silvia Farina Elia, who beat Dokic in the final Sunday at Strasbourg, France, must wait to face 19-year-old Russian Elena Bovina.
On the men's side, No. 8 Roger Federer of Switzerland was upset by Morocco's Hicham Arazi, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, while No. 11 Juan Carlos Ferrero, a two-time semifinalist from Spain, defeated French wild-card Jean-Rene Lisnard, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3.
Billy Tubbs new AD at Lamar
BEAUMONT, Texas, May 29 (UPI) -- Bily Tubbs, who ended his coaching career this past season, returned to his alma mater on Tuesday to become director of athletics at Lamar University.
Easily the most publicized graduate of the university, Tubbs coached Lamar for four of his 28 seasons, going 75-46 from 1976-80. In his final season, Tubbs led the small Southland Conference school to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Sparked by his success at Lamar, Tubbs moved on to coach at Oklahoma for 14 seasons, where he helped the school reach the NCAA title game in 1988.
Tubbs spent the past eight seasons, rebuilding the basketball program at Texas Christian. He resigned after this past season when the Horned Frogs went 18-11. In 28 seasons overall on the bench, Tubbs posted a 597-293 coaching record.
Bonds leads NL All-Star voting
NEW YORK, May 29 (UPI) -- Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants is the leading vote-getter in early balloting for the 73rd All-Star Game to be played July 9 at Milwaukee, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday.
The reigning National League Most Valuable Player, Bonds has 231,890 votes and is vying for his ninth election as a starting outfielder.
After setting a single-season record with 74 home runs in 2001, Bonds is tied for the major league lead with 18 this season and has 585 in his career, one behind Frank Robinson for fourth place on the all-time list. Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs also has 18 home runs and is second among outfielders with 201,353 votes.
Two members of the New York Mets-catcher Mike Piazza (219,072) and second baseman Roberto Alomar (171,155) -- and two members of the Philadelphia Phillies-third baseman Scott Rolen (90,778) and shortstop Jimmy Rollins (74,874) -- lead at their respective positions.
The other leaders are outfielder Vladimir Guerrero of the Montreal Expos (138,772) and first baseman Jeff Bagwell (113,890) of the Houston Astros.
First returns in American All-Star balloting will be announced Wednesday.
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